Greek ships wait for Turkish investors: Shipping magnate

Greek ships wait for Turkish investors: Shipping magnate

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Gerassimos Agoudimos, a leading Greek ship owner, has called on Turkish investors to buy ships from his country, as the prices have nearly halved due to the ongoing economic woes.

Some Greek transporters were ready to sell ships worth between 80,000 and 100,000 euros at half their prices because of the hardships they face paying back their loans, the owner of GA Ferries said, according to a note by the Turkish Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Ministry to chambers of maritime trade.

The note said the conditions were good for Turkish companies either to buy a Greek company or a ship that operates a particular line, according to Doğan news agency.

After a recent meeting with Agoudimos, the ministry said Turkish companies might run ships flying Greek or Maltese flags between Piraeus and Thessaloniki with stop-bys at Greek islands in cooperation with Greek companies.

The note quoted Agoudimos as saying the Ayvalık-Lesbos-Thessaloniki and İzmir-Çeşmi-Piraeus lines might attract strong attention.

The Thessaloniki and Igoumenitsa ports could also serve in sea freight from Turkey to Europe, it said.
Buying out Greek firms rather than directly investing in the market could help overcome some “artificial obstacles,” the ministry said.

GA Ferries was ready to mediate for Turkish firms in such operations, and it offered its two buildings at the Piraeus port, it added.

The Posidonia Maritime Fair in Athens between June 4 and 8 may offer good business opportunities, according to the ministry.

The Greek government, which is struggling to cut debt by selling assets, directly intervened in selling or renting some tourism facilities or islands, according to İlhan Açıkgöz, the head of Turkey’s South Aegean Touristic Hotels Association (GETOB).

Officials from the Greek privatization board have contacted the union regarding the issue, he told Doğan news agency.

Açıkgöz, who is also a board member of the Turkish Hotels Federation (TÜROFED), said the offers were being evaluated by Turkish investors.

A recent shift in Greek regulations made such operations possible, he said.

Cooperation more likely

However, the federation’s members were likely to reject the Greek officials’ offers as the local market was more promising, Açıkgöz said. The Turkish tourism market is growing faster than the Greek market, according to him. “Besides, it is risky to flow capital and invest in a country where economic stability cannot be achieved.”

Turkish tourism investors were instead considering formulas that both countries could benefit from, Açıkgöz said.

The European Union could also support some joint projects, he said, adding that these plans included offering joint destinations to the international market. “So tourists will be able to have their holidays in two countries.”

Meanwhile, the Greek media has reported that a member of the Qatari royal family purchased the private Greek island of Oxia for the bargain price of less than 5 million euros.

The Ionian island of Oxia was for sale for 6.9 million euros, but the advent of increased property taxes resulted in a much reduced sale price. According to Ekathimerini, the sale of private Greek islands has been stagnant for three years, but the introduction of higher taxes has resulted in a sudden upsurge of interest as owners are prepared to lower prices in order to off-load their tax liabilities.

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